BCA Advisory for Safe and Controlled restart of the construction section from 2 June 2020

ADVISORY FOR A SAFE AND CONTROLLED RESTART OF THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR FROM 2 JUNE 2020

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on 19 May 2020 that the Circuit Breaker measures will gradually ease from 2 June 2020. Construction work will also be allowed to resume in phases but in a safe and controlled manner to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 resurgence.

 

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (“COVID-19 Act”) and the COVID19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 (“Control Order”), all Construction Projects, Supply Works , Renovation Works and Construction Account Works which have been suspended during Circuit Breaker shall remain so even after 1 June 2020, until such time when the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) approval on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is obtained for the relevant works to be restarted.

 

Companies previously approved by MTI during the Circuit Breaker to carry out essential site activities as indicated in Annex A of BCA Advisory dated 2 May 2020 at construction projects (e.g. maintaining site safety, vector control, instrumentation and monitoring) and other types of Construction Account Works are required to make the necessary submission to BCA and have their employees (both locals and foreigners) tested for COVID-19 by 15 June 2020, failing which the companies will not be allowed to deploy their employees beyond 15 June 2020. These works in this paragraph will be referred to as “Earlier Permitted Activities”.  

For a start, BCA expects about another 5% of the construction workforce to gradually resume work in the month of June (i.e. a total of 10% of the construction workforce is expected to be working in June, including about 5% of workforce who have been allowed to continue working during the Circuit Breaker period).

These will be workforce working on a small number of critical infrastructure projects, those that have to continue for safety reasons and those listed under Supply Works. Examples include MRT/ MRT/ Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) tunneling projects, deep excavation works, bridge construction and works at precast manufacturing plants.

 

All companies approved to resume works for Construction Projects, Supply Works, Construction Account Works and previously approved companies performing Earlier Permitted Activities, must put in place safe management measures. These safe management measures are necessary to minimise the risk of a resurgence of COVID-19 at work sites, Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) factories, and at places of accommodation of foreign employees deployed to perform such work.

COVID-Safe Restart Criteria: Implementation of Safe Management Measures

Prior to restart, each company performing Construction Project, Supply Works, Construction Account Works must seek BCA’s approval on behalf of MTI and comply with these three COVIDSafe Restart Criteria; i.e. COVID-Safe Workforce, COVID-Safe Worksite and COVID-Safe Worker Accommodation and Transport, where relevant.

 

(a) COVID-Safe Workforce: Employees must download contact-tracing app TraceTogether by 1 June 2020 or when companies apply to resume works, whichever is earlier. Employers are required to establish a system to track the daily health status of workers, and to manage workers’ social interactions on rest days. Employers should also ensure their relevant employees undergo regular swab tests and fulfill the swab test requirements for the various types of employees involved in the respective types of works.

Upon receiving companies’ applications, BCA will contact eligible companies to arrange for employees to be tested. The policy on charging for testing is under review. In the interim, companies will not be charged for the tests. Subsequently, if any workers who are working are found to have missed regular testing, BCA reserves the right to withdraw any approval given for resumption of works. 

(b) COVID-Safe Worksite: The national digital check-in system SafeEntry (NRIC version) must be deployed by the main contractor or occupier of the workplace premise to record all entries and exits, and strict safe management measures must be enforced at worksites to prevent major COVID-19 outbreaks, such as segregating workers by teams (based on accommodation and construction activity performed) to work at different work zones and having staggered breaks. Safe Management Officers (SMOs) and/or Safe Distancing Officers (SDOs) are to be appointed as part of safe management measures at worksite.

(c) COVID-Safe Worker Accommodation and Transport: Cohorting of workers by projects at their places of accommodation and providing dedicated transport between work sites and places of accommodation if workers are not residing at onsite accommodation. It is essential for all companies along the value chain to cooperate and minimise the risk of a COVID-19 resurgence.

For Construction Projects and Supply Works, all three sets of COVID-Safe Restart Criteria listed in paragraph 6 must be complied with.

Companies performing Construction Account Works must comply with the COVID-Safe Workforce and COVID-Safe Worker Accommodation and Transport criteria, as well as Ministry of Manpower’s safe management measures at workplaces after the Circuit Breaker period as detailed in prevailing law and MOM’s advisory at https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safemanagement-measures.

Resumption of administrative works in corporate offices, works on non-construction sites and essential services (e.g. maintenance of site safety, instrumentation & monitoring work, receiving of materials) do not require approval from BCA so long as such works do not deploy construction account work permit holders (WPHs) and S-pass holders. Nonetheless, telecommuting should be adopted to the maximum extent feasible. Those who have been working from home so far should continue to do so.

The full listing and details of the COVID-Safe Restart Criteria may be downloaded on BCA website at https://go.gov.sg/bca-restart-criteria

 

Differentiated Approval Process

BCA will put in place a differentiated approval process for companies seeking to restart Construction Projects, Supply Works, Construction Accounts Works and to continue with Earlier Permitted Activities after 2 June 2020. Please refer to BCA.

 

BCA will identify selected Construction Projects and Supply Works for resumption of work from 2 June 2020, and notify the respective project owners and DfMA factories owners of the application process by 27 May 2020. Project owners and DfMA factory owners who do not receive notification from BCA by 27 May 2020 should expect to resume work at a later date. BCA will provide regular updates to the industry after monitoring the progress and COVID situation after the Restart.

Applications for the resumption of Construction Account Works may be submitted via https://go.gov.sg/bca-construction-accounts. Companies that have obtained MTI’s approval to resume work on offsite premises (e.g. HQ offices, premises outside construction sites) or essential services and do not wish to deploy Construction Work Permit and S-Pass holders may continue to do so without BCA’s approval.

Companies carrying out Earlier Permitted Activities as indicated in Annex A of BCA Advisory dated 2 May 2020 (e.g. maintaining site safety, vector control, instrumentation and monitoring), will also be informed of the submission process.

Businesses should continue to submit their manpower details via MTI’s GoBusiness portal (https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg) within two weeks of the date of resumption of operations or obtaining the relevant approval to restart works. Audit and Inspection

An Audit and Inspection regime will be implemented, using technology solutions to check strictly implementation of COVID-Safe management measures. Main contractors and employers will be overall responsible to ensure compliance with the measures, including deploying technology to facilitate self-checks and supervision. BCA will likewise utilise technologies, as well as conduct selective physical audits and inspections, to ensure that those permitted to resume work will adhere  to all prevailing legal and regulatory requirements and put in place the procedures and COVIDSafe Management plans, or declaration checklists, approved by BCA on behalf of MTI. Training

 

Personnel involved in Construction Projects, Supply Works, and Construction Account Works are required to attend relevant training to be familiarised with COVID Safe Management measures before being deployed to work. All workers are required to attend the COVID-Safe Training for Workers. SMOs and SDOs who will be responsible for the implementation and coordination of Safe Management Measures at workplaces will be required to attend the Safe Management Officers Course for Construction. 

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